Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Alternative Method For Removing Paint From Hardware

My friend Chris read the posts below and suggested an alternative method of removing paint from hardware. This one does not use harsh chemicals, just baking soda, water, and an old pot that you won't use for food any more.

Click to read how to do it.

Thanks, Chris!

Monday, July 28, 2008

What Stripper?

This is the product we used:

It's nasty but it works. It comes with a spray bottle that clogged or stopped working after a few sprays.

Still, it works well. I did the first panel (at the bottom of the picture) at my lunch break today. I worked a little too fast, it was a dry day, and I did it in direct sunlight so that may have had some retarding effect.

When my daughter got home she helped and we slowed down a little and did it in the shade. She and I would pour some on, then go away and do something else for 10-15 minutes. We managed to remove three or more layers of paint - probably some varnish at the bottom - in one pass of a knife. We got better at it as we moved to the top of the door.

The three layers of paint were at least one latex, two oil paints, and one layer of varnish or shellac.

Beware this stuff - use it outdoors, wear gloves and protective clothes, and wash yourself off IMMEDIATELY if you get it on you. It burns!! We kept a hose near us the whole time. Also beware that the paint and remover mess, should it fall and spatter, can get on your legs. I opened up an old cardboard box for us to work on and we did it on the ground. Still, we got spatters and spills and wearing playclothes is a must.

The stuff also eats up tarmac, so if you have a nice driveway, you've been warned. Use a lot of paper or cardboard or do it on a concrete surface you don't care about.

The muck of paint and stripper does NOT wash off with water. I bet this stuff is NOT "green", either.

Housing Market & Previous Owners

As I was cleaning up the front sidewalk this afternoon, a middle-aged man and his elderly mother stopped by and asked if I owned the house. They then explained that they owned it before me, and sold it in 2001.

They said we were doing a great job remodeling it. That was nice of them to say, considering the front of the house looks like a hurricane ripped it up.

They said they sold it for $110 in 2001. Shortly after that, the person who bought it from them sold it for greater than that. We purchased it for more than twice that, even if at a foreclosure price.

I told them to stop by some other time and I would show them the inside.

Last fall another man stopped by asking what I paid for the house. He spoke very rapidly and told me a lot about himself before I could answer, and added that he could get the information without me because it was publicly available anyway. I wanted to say, "Then why don't you do that?" but I politely said that I paid what the asking price was. He was looking at a house down the street. I am glad he did not buy it.

Living Room And Heating Grate

Now that the rush to finish Cara's room is over, we are working on several things at once. Yesterday I furred out the windows in the living room.

We have more floor ready to put in the living room but we failed to obtain a 5/8" nailer in time for last weekend. There's always another weekend.
In prep for putting in the LR floor, I have another one of those "what the hell did you get yourself into now, Paul, are you crazy?" projects. This is the heating grate in the middle of the floor.

Statistically, more than 50% of the people in my family are ladies, and they wear high heels or get their toes caught in the grate all the time, so it has to go. It straddles the line between the LR and the DR, so it has to go soon. This is what it looks like underneath.

I will have to take the vertical stack off the plenum and re-route the heat through two ducts, one that goes into the LR, the other into the DR, for a more heel-and-toe friendly home, and better distribution of heat. I will also have to put a new joist in that replaces the one that comes to the box around the floor grate from the sill of the house. It never makes it to the main beam, and the floor is a bit weak there as a result. So, I have two 12' joists to be ripped down to the proper width to install, and not a lot of room to swing them around. This will be fun, but it won't be the worst thing I ever faced.

Cara's Door

Cara and I used paint remover on her door today.

Detail of the wood beneath. I think it is Hemlock, but I am not sure. Hemlock and Southern Yellow Pine were used a lot in this area at the time our house was built. If you can tell me what kind of wood that is, post a comment here.

Door hardware. I stripped the knobs today, but the escutcheons are exceptionally tough.

Detail of knobs. They appear to be brass or something like it.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Shades For Cara, Mud And Tape for Finn

This poorly focused shot nonetheless shows that we installed shades for Cara, so Jerry can no longer spy on her.

Here are some boring shots of Finn's room after taping and mudding.

We also painted some trim for the living room, furred out the windows in the same, brought home the floor for the Living Room, blew up a cow, ate dirt, and finally reached Houdini during a seance.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Cara Moves In

The view from Cara's long entry. Cara wheeled into the shot just as I snapped this (compare to shot taken in previous post).
Cara added the decorations you can see in the corner behind the light. That is her new, flat-panel HDTV on the wall!

Now she's getting annoyed but I had to show the closet door that took me some effort to install.

Computer desk and decorations, closer view.

We still have a few minor things to do (complete the ductwork for the heat, finish her door and remount it, etc.) but she is moved in and happy. The next victim will be Finn. We'll be turning our sights on his room, the living room, the porch, and the backyard.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Baseboard And Other Stuff In Cara's Room


Zucchini Burthen

I warned them, but they wouldn't listen.

"It's just a few plants, honey...what could go wrong?"

Oh, the horror. Childhood memories of the "war clubs" lined up on the back porch, covering the picnic table, rolling off every available surface in the kitchen - long, green orphans that bred like flies in the compost. I don't think Mom ever deliberately planted a zucchini in her life, but we always had a bumper crop, and participated in the horrible practice of foisting them on anyone who would visit, leaving them on neighbors' porches overnight, depositing them in unlocked cars at the grocery.

Now the dark legacy continues, my son saddled with the burthen of zucchini bigger than him.

A Day At the Beach




Yes, they were really asleep.

We went to Long Beach, NY for the day.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Garden Report

It's out of control. I told her the zucchini would take over.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Finishing the Floor/What Remains?

Jennifer moves it into Cara's hallway.

Finished! We rented the nailer for $38 from United Rentals because we hate the Home Depot that has a tool rental. They are always rude, and not very helpful. It is a common complaint locally and I would be surprised if they are not one of the stores targeted for closing.

I put in the closet door jambs. We put up some molding to see what it will look like, finished. We're going to put a mirrored, folding door on it.

After this, we need to:
  • finish installing all trim
  • sink finish nails
  • touch up trim & walls
  • re-run cable
  • finish the closet
  • put up outlet covers
  • get the electrician to install lights
  • move the girl in.

What Kind Of Wood Is the Floor?

It's "Strand Tiger Bamboo" from Morningstar. A little tougher than your average bamboo. We got it from Lumber Liquidators and we are very pleased with it excepting the splinters that are very easily gotten!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Flooring Cara's Room

This is the floor as it was before.
With the felt down, Steve (Cara's boyfriend) is putting down the first course of floorboards.

Making progress. Maybe we'll be done tomorrow.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day

Led by our friend Mark, Jennifer and I hiked up Mt. Beacon to watch fireworks. The red x shows where we were, the arrow the direction we looked to see the fireworks near Newburgh.

In the lower right-hand side of the picture below you can see Denning's point, an arm of land that reaches into the Hudson. In the satellite image above, it is the last piece of land the arrow crosses. If you look at the enlarged image, you can see fireworks deep in the distance.

Here are some fireworks closer to us.

We've been living here one year now. Thanks for watching.